Forty-five people face more than 200 charges combined in connection with residential break and enters, high-value distraction thefts and organized retail thefts following a seven-month investigation dubbed Project Condor.
Nine of those charged were part of two “distraction theft crews” in Markham that followed victims from a bank where their vehicles were disabled or left unattended and then took the cash that had been withdrawn from the bank, York Regional Police report. Numerous charges, including theft over $5,000, have been laid and $62,000 in cash has been recovered.
The majority of residential break and enters took place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. while people were at work or away from their homes. Investigators connected the suspects to 32 incidents that took place in Markham, King, Aurora, Bradford, Barrie, Cobourg, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Mono and Georgetown.
Several suspects were also responsible for retail thefts that targeted cell phone kiosks and high-end designer clothing stores in Vaughan, Oakville, Mississauga and Brampton.
Police seized more than $150,000 worth of stolen property, including jewellery, designer bags, designer clothing, currency and vehicles after executing numerous search warrants on the suspects’ vehicles and residences between April and October 2019. Numerous agencies were involved in Project Condor, including Toronto, Halton, Peel, South Simcoe, Barrie, Durham and Cobourg police services, Ontario Provincial Police and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Many of the accused don’t have resident status in Canada and 14 suspects have been deported to their countries of origin. Nine offenders without status in Canada are still before the courts. Immigration proceedings for those offenders will begin once criminal charges have been completed. CBSA and YRP continue to work together to resolve immigration issues in this investigation.
If you were a victim of one of these types of offences, you’re asked to review the photos of recovered property that are posted at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHWrFjF and https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHsqtqT. Contact investigators if you recognize your stolen property. Anyone with information should contact the YRP Integrated Property Crime Task Force at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7232 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips.
Photo of a designer bag recovered from Greater Toronto Area theft ring courtesy of York Regional Police.